Injury hinders Cline at Games

by Ryan Schuster

Two former Minnesota track and field competitors are in Atlanta for the Olympic Games this summer, but their trip hasn’t been much of a vacation.
Keita and Coralea Cline were sent to the Olympics as track team members for the British Virgin Islands, which are just south of Puerto Rico.
Both athletes, who were married in 1995, have citizenship to the islands through Keita’s father, who lives there.
But neither competitor has had much success so far.
Keita failed to make the cut for the men’s long jump last Sunday in the opening round, and Coralea pulled out of the qualifying round of the high jump on Thursday with an injury to the cartilage in her ribs.
Coralea, who has only competed once since the Big Ten Outdoor Championships in May 1994 and gave birth to their son Jayden in March 1995, has a career best jump of 6 feet, 2 inches. She would have needed a jump of 6-4 just to qualify for Saturday’s high jump final.
Now, Keita holds the couple’s only chances for Olympic glory in the men’s 4×100- and 4×400-meter relays this weekend.
During his collegiate career with the Gophers, he won five Big Ten titles and was a two-time All-American as a long and triple jumper from 1991 to 1995.
Despite his prominence as a college athlete, Keita will be far from a favorite to medal in the 4×100- and 4×400-meter relays.
Gophers men’s track coach Phil Lundin said Keita was lucky to be able to compete for the British Virgin Islands.
“If he was a U.S. citizen, he wouldn’t be on the American Olympic track team,” Lundin said. “That’s the way it is at the Olympics where each team can only take three track athletes (for each event) per country.”
Still, the couple is grateful for the opportunity to compete in the Games whether it be for Canada, the United States, or the British Virgin Islands.